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Author Topic: Sawing Cottonwood  (Read 5999 times)

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Offline Mark M

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Sawing Cottonwood
« on: January 17, 2003, 10:33:38 AM »
Does anyone saw cottowood and if so what do you use it for? I am just getting started with my sawmill and have access to a lot of this stuff. I have been told it make good lumber for horse corrals <sp?> (horse cages) and pallets. I'd like to find a market but am ignorant of its uses. Any ideas or advice would be appreciated.

Mark

Offline Norm

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2003, 12:03:19 PM »
ISU forestry department has a handout that talks about using cottonwood for framing lumber. You may try sending them an e-mail to see if they can send it to you. If not let me know and I'll see if I still have it. I have sawn up a few cottonwoods that grow on our farm and the worst problem I have had was getting them to dry without warping, also I had a lot of ring shake in the ones I used but that may have been because they grew in an area that cows grazed many years ago. They say horses won't crib on them and that horse people like them for stalls. Mostly I sell them to the local pallet mill in logs and don't mess with them except for my own use.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2003, 12:05:30 PM »
Mark
Cottonwood is a strong wood, but its uses will require it to be kept fairly dry (inside horse stalls may work if the manure doesn't pack up against the wood). Cottonwood isn't very decay resistant. It makes good sheathing too.
Otherwise, it will make good construction lumber i.e. 2x's and 4x's. There are a lot of growth stresses in the trees and some planning needs to be done when it is cut.
A few years back I heard of sawing cottonwood into 2" flitches and drying the flitches before ripping them into the desired width sizes. I believe the procedure was called Saw-Dry-Rip. The growth stresses were relieved when the flitch dried, leaving straighter lumber when finished than the conventional Saw-Rip-Dry procedures. It was, I think, better to saw the flitches parallel to the bark too, rather than parallel to the pith, to take away the cross grain in the flitch and some of the effects of growth stresses.  The Iowa State Forestry Dept. has done a lot of study of Cottonwood because that is about their only tree of any volume in the river bottoms. Also, Minnesota School of Forestry may have information on the drying studies done with the Saw-Dry-Rip procedure, nicknamed SDR.  I also think some of the wood bridge work in Iowa was done using cottonwood for the bridge material, treated with creosote. Good results from what I have heard.  
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Offline Larry

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2003, 02:32:25 PM »
A few years ago there was a mill in north central Missouri that was sawing a lot of black cottonwood for use in coffins and the non-exposed parts in furniture.  Black cottonwood doesn't seem to have as many fuzzys as the yellow cottonwood.
Larry
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Offline Frank_Pender

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2003, 06:59:39 AM »
Mark, I have been sawing C wood for some time now.  I have sold most to horse people for stalls and corrals.  I have also sold some to wood workers for furniture.  I have been drying it , only after it has air dryed for abouyt 60 days.  I run the MC down to 6-7 %.  for the horse people I have not been drying the wood.  For wood workers it sizes are running 5/4 x 10" & 12" x 8' to 12'.  I am getting $0.50 a bd.ft. for green and $0.75 for dry, here in Oregon.
Frank Pender

Offline Jacar

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2003, 07:45:26 PM »
Frank,

What size do you cut your c-wood for horse stalls?  We have a lot of horse people around here.  Thanks.

Jack
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Offline Frank_Pender

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2003, 07:39:52 PM »
Jack,

  I have cutting it a full 2" x 6" for stall walls that are setup to have the boards slide into a slot at each end.  With the narrrower board there is less chance of haveing a hoof center on just one board and break.  For corrals I have sawn both 2" x 6" and 8" for an eight foot spaceing of the posts.
Frank Pender

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2003, 09:00:34 AM »
Here in Illinois cottonwood is very common and I market it as barn building material in 2'' construction lumber, it is strong and light, and works great for building material. Around here cotton and sycamore are cosidered trash, or weed trees! so i get all I want! 8)
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Offline Mark M

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2003, 10:11:01 AM »
Hi Buzz

I went out to the dump last Saturday and found 2 cottonwood logs about 30" by about 14 feet or so that are straight, solid, and pretty clear. They are a little too big to haul home so I think I'll drag my saw out there and make some 2 bys.

Mark

Offline Haytrader

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2003, 01:09:53 PM »
If you put it up as fence, nail it soon as you saw or you will need a drill. It gets hard.
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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2003, 01:45:56 PM »
No Shake?
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Offline inspectorwoody

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2003, 05:22:48 PM »
 :D Didn't know cottonwood was worth anything...Last time I knew it was worth about 3-5 cents stumpage  :o Haven't heard of people using if or horse stalls either...the amish around here use ash for all that fancy jazz. Glad to see there is a use for it besides some pallets.

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2003, 07:28:57 AM »
I do watch for shake in the cotton too...I dont bother with picking it up if shaky...if the tree is 60-70 tall I may check higher in the tree ...often there is no shake present, anyone know the real truth on shake? wind streesses torque at the base?
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Offline Frank_Pender

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2003, 07:25:42 PM »
All of the CottonwoodI have sawed here in Oregon has hod no shake what-so-ever.  Like was said earlier, if you are going to nail it down, do it soon after sawing as nailing will often split the wood or bend the nail. :D
Frank Pender

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2020, 11:15:52 PM »
Big Cottonwood trees. Are they worth sawing ???

Offline Larry

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2020, 11:34:38 PM »
If you have a market.  When I got my first mill in 1994 I sawed a lot of cottonwood into tobacco sticks for barn curing.  A lot of the tall tobacco barns in NW Missouri were mostly cottonwood and for sure the rails were cottonwood.  Member Kansas (RIP) kept a couple of guys busy sawing construction lumber near Topeka.

It makes good utility shelving, I think better than pine.  I've sawed a lot for sheathing.

Bands with lots of set work the best I think.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2020, 07:57:32 AM »
makes good trailer decking, as it crushes and does not split unter metal dozer track.  does not decay as much if it is clean and out of the dirt.  even if left in the sun and rain.  cotton wood here can be 7 foot diameter, so what do you mean when you say big?



 

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Online Bruno of NH

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2020, 09:15:36 AM »
I have sawn it into nice clear 1x stock
I also saw poplar ( aspen) into clear 1x and 2x stock and have no problem selling it.
Have one cabinet maker come from maine and buy the clear 5/4 stock i sell.
No one saws it in Maine.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2020, 09:22:17 AM »
here is some for trailer decking.  full 2 x 8 x 18 feet.



 
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2020, 09:27:20 AM »
I have been told it is used in coffins as well.  It has more water than wood when fresh (MC over 100%) and feels like a noodle when you pull a board off the mill.  light when dry. these were put on a trailer the same day and sprayed with boiled linseed oil.  been 5 years and I am told going strong.  I will take a pic of the left over 2 foot x 18 foot slab later that has been out in the weather for the past 5 years off the ground and still solid.  it has some surface checks
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2020, 09:29:18 AM »
Thanks Doc

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2020, 10:30:15 AM »
makes good trailer decking, as it crushes and does not split unter metal dozer track.  does not decay as much if it is clean and out of the dirt.  even if left in the sun and rain.  cotton wood here can be 7 foot diameter, so what do you mean when you say big?


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

5 foot bar on the 880.  
Well one of my Cottonwoods on the creek is 240Ē circumference 😂. The one on my drive is not quite that big. Probably around 40-45 Diameter A storm with some super strong winds broke the top out. So itís going to go on the list to mill 

Offline alan gage

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2020, 11:45:37 AM »
I like it. It's about all I can find around here that's suitable for framing lumber. Saws easy.

I have had some mixed results. Some edge grown trees with stress really dried crooked and much was wasted straight lining them afterwards. Some were throwaway with too much twist. Others have sawn and dried very straight. In the future I think I'll be more picky about the ones I take. I'd likely pass on the log Doc showed for trailer decking if I was planning to saw framing lumber or posts based on my limited experience

Alan
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2020, 11:57:21 AM »
I think one point is that wood that is often overlooked or thought of as junk, can be useful.  the wood is soft so tends to break in storms, but resilient to a point.  cannot buy elm or cottonwood at Lowes.  many of the over 100 y/o Ks homes and many barns were built with cottonwood framing.  it grows fast as do many in the family, and usually dies at about 100 years old.  only about 18 million BTUs per cord for heat.  better than some of the soft wood species burned in Alaska for heat.  and better than nothing if you are freezing.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2020, 12:04:28 PM »
left over slab of CW 2 x 24 x 18 left outside.

 


 


 

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2020, 12:07:08 PM »
I dug out a double trunked cottonwood root ball.  it had to ride up on the rails of my dump truck.  too big to fit in the 5 yard bed.  weight at the dump, 12 k.

using the tool that log was well over 3k pounds
edit:  closer to 5 k.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline mart

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #26 on: September 13, 2020, 12:09:14 PM »
I saw a lot of cottonwood. Perhaps our Alaskan cottonwood is a little different but I don't have an issue with warping or twisting. It seems to stay pretty flat through the drying process.

I have cut it for paneling, cabinets, structural lumber, sheathing, rig mats and beams. I even floored my wood shed with it. We don't have a lot of options in south central Alaska for timber. Spruce, birch and cottonwood. Right now with the massive beetlekill spruce problem, it's sometimes difficult to get spruce that will make 2x material that isn't severely cracked or showing some dry rot.

I put a pretty big cottonwood log on the LT15 yesterday. I'm prepping to pour a slab for the sawmill shed and needed some form boards and a long screed board. I need some 24' 2x6s for trusses later so cut mostly that from the log. I ended up with 16 24' 2x6s, 2 20' 2x10s and 2 16' 2x6s from the log. 18" on the small end and 22" on the big end. It was everything my 37 horse Branson wanted to pick up. I have a 1500 pound three point hitch counter weight and needed every ounce of it. I'll cut the rest of the form boards this week.

I retired Friday and am looking forward to making a lot more sawdust and enjoying the autumn years with Etta. Here's a few pics.

This log really put a strain on the Armstrong log turner.





Some of the 24' 2x6s





The flooring and siding of the woodshed are cottonwood.





Some cottonwood rig mats I keep around to rent out during the spring.



I was young and dumb once. I got over being young a long time ago.

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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #27 on: September 13, 2020, 07:23:27 PM »
Looks like you have a pretty nice setup. Thanks for the pictures and input 👍

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2020, 07:30:48 PM »
left over slab of CW 2 x 24 x 18 left outside.
(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

Thanks Doc. It still looks good. What are your plans with it. Or is it going to sit there for a few more years 😂

Offline mart

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2020, 07:31:38 PM »
Thanks. Itís getting there. Hoping to get a 20x40 pad poured behind where the mill sits before cold weather sets in. My buddy is coming over Friday and weíll get it all prepped for the pour. After the slab is poured and the mill moved to the pad Iíll start milling 6x6s for the posts and building trusses from the long 2x6s. Got a few more to mill yet. 

But tomorrow is moose hunting time. And I have a caribou tag to fill yet. 
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2020, 07:36:33 PM »
Im jealous 😂. Hunting of many big game species in your backyard. Good luck 👍 

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2020, 08:36:14 PM »
A neighbor has a couple sheds built entirely of cottonwood, and about 100 years old.  But the shingles are not cottonwood.  Just framing, siding, and flooring. If you use it for trailer decking, should you oil the wood before installing?

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2020, 09:23:23 PM »
Im jealous 😂. Hunting of many big game species in your backyard. Good luck 👍
Thanks. Not quite in my back yard though. If a legal moose set foot in my yard I'd be all over it. They seem to stay out of my yard until the season is over or the brussel sprouts are ready. I'll drive about 40 miles tomorrow morning to my favorite moose spot. The caribou are about 3 hours away.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2020, 09:34:43 PM »
that might be best.  they just sprayed it onto the top I think.  I did not help install it, but I ask about it from time to time.  i would think it would be good to repeat occ.  especially if it got mud from tracks all over it and it was pressure washed off.
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Offline nopoint

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2020, 10:31:50 PM »
It makes great blocking. I do some occasional building moving and straightening. Cottonwood blocks weight like pine, but are strong like oak.

Offline Percy

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2020, 12:06:53 AM »
THis is planed airdried cottonwood.....when it was green, it was just that, kinda green looking...dried out after a couple years in the forgotten shed...surprisingly nice grain..

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Offline WLC

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2020, 01:38:11 AM »
I saw a lot of cottonwood. Perhaps our Alaskan cottonwood is a little different but I don't have an issue with warping or twisting. It seems to stay pretty flat through the drying process.

I have cut it for paneling, cabinets, structural lumber, sheathing, rig mats and beams. I even floored my wood shed with it. We don't have a lot of options in south central Alaska for timber. Spruce, birch and cottonwood. Right now with the massive beetlekill spruce problem, it's sometimes difficult to get spruce that will make 2x material that isn't severely cracked or showing some dry rot.

I put a pretty big cottonwood log on the LT15 yesterday. I'm prepping to pour a slab for the sawmill shed and needed some form boards and a long screed board. I need some 24' 2x6s for trusses later so cut mostly that from the log. I ended up with 16 24' 2x6s, 2 20' 2x10s and 2 16' 2x6s from the log. 18" on the small end and 22" on the big end. It was everything my 37 horse Branson wanted to pick up. I have a 1500 pound three point hitch counter weight and needed every ounce of it. I'll cut the rest of the form boards this week.

I retired Friday and am looking forward to making a lot more sawdust and enjoying the autumn years with Etta. Here's a few pics.

This log really put a strain on the Armstrong log turner.


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)


Some of the 24' 2x6s


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)


The flooring and siding of the woodshed are cottonwood.


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)


Some cottonwood rig mats I keep around to rent out during the spring.


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)




Congratulations Marty!!  Hope you enjoy every day of it!!
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Offline mart

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2020, 01:58:04 AM »
Thank you sir
I was young and dumb once. I got over being young a long time ago.

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Offline alan gage

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2020, 01:04:26 PM »
I saw a lot of cottonwood. Perhaps our Alaskan cottonwood is a little different
Most likely.  It gets confusing because there are multiple species referred to simply as "Cottonwood". Most of us are referring to Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides).
Alan
Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.

Offline D6c

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2020, 08:05:17 AM »
Amish around here saw a lot of cottonwood for pallet lumber.  I've sawed some for framing lumber and used it to build the walls on my solar kiln.  Most of what I sawed warped beyond useable and went on the burn pile.
I did quarter saw some and used it for decking on pallet racking.  Worked well with no cupping.

Offline kantuckid

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #40 on: September 16, 2020, 08:05:08 AM »
A neighbor has a couple sheds built entirely of cottonwood, and about 100 years old.  But the shingles are not cottonwood.  Just framing, siding, and flooring. If you use it for trailer decking, should you oil the wood before installing?
I use crankcase/tranny oil on trailer floors, done when woods dry. Linseed oil, boiled or not is organic and feeds the little fellers that grow on wood. Protects but feeds, so best if it's used to include something in the mix that prevents that growth.
Early in my log homes life I mixed up a wood finish formula found in a U of AK log building pamphlet I had which used linseed as a base- maybe in ok in AK, but in KY you get mildew!  
Kan=Kansas;tuck=Kentucky;kid=what I'm not

Offline 97redjeep

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #41 on: September 16, 2020, 03:02:42 PM »
Got a little excited when I saw this post, I have a bunch of standing dead cottonwood so I sawed on up and made a vanity for my wife, also sawed a bunch of green wood up for my brothers lowbed decking and he says itís holding up great, itís been a few months of abuse now. 

 

 

 

    
Mill-HM126,  jd310, husky 365/372bb, 365/372 clone, new 372, ms170, couple little pooolans, IEL pioneer project saw, Ford 3000, 99 dodge ctd with in box dump box.

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #42 on: September 16, 2020, 05:44:17 PM »
i just got a gallon of copper naphthenate, to treat outdoor wood.  will not be "pressure" treated, but the surface treatment should impair growth of mold and other organisms.  copper care is the brand, from amazon.  outside but off the soil is ok.  i hope this product will help on my hackberry pallet runners.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #43 on: September 16, 2020, 05:48:15 PM »
redjeep i was looking at your sawhorses in the background, and i thought you made them just like mine.  i actually make and I beam with a 2 x 6 top and bottom the runs the length.  i refurbished a 22 foot o'day daysailer two fiberglass sailboat supported on two of them.  they are 8 feet long.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline 97redjeep

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Re: Sawing Cottonwood
« Reply #44 on: Today at 11:34:36 AM »
redjeep i was looking at your sawhorses in the background, and i thought you made them just like mine.  i actually make and I beam with a 2 x 6 top and bottom the runs the length.  i refurbished a 22 foot o'day daysailer two fiberglass sailboat supported on two of them.  they are 8 feet long.
Doc thatís exactly what they are, other than only 4í. I initially built a set to set a old pickup camper on then realized they were way better than my old 2x4 ones and way lighter than my grandpas old timber ones, I even built him a set after he seen them, donít need a tractor to move them lol and theyíre surprisingly strong  ;D
Mill-HM126,  jd310, husky 365/372bb, 365/372 clone, new 372, ms170, couple little pooolans, IEL pioneer project saw, Ford 3000, 99 dodge ctd with in box dump box.


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